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Meals on Wheels Queensland loses almost 50 per cent of its volunteers

Charity provider Meals on Wheels has reported an almost 50 per cent decline in volunteers for its Queensland branch since the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meals on Wheels Queensland chief executive Evan Hill told 9news.com.au the charity had lost 4500 volunteers since the onset of the pandemic in 2020.

"We have seen a decline in the number of volunteers across the state since the pandemic from 10,000 to approximately 6500 reported by our members," he said.

Hill said the impact of the pandemic, compounded with the rising cost of living, had contributed to dwindling volunteer numbers.

"COVID has impacted the numbers of volunteers over the past three to four years and the cost of living crisis does see more people in the community needing to work two or more jobs which has an impact on their availability to volunteer," he said.

On top of the decline in volunteers, the charity has also seen demand grow by 35 per cent.

"Meals on Wheels across Queensland has seen our meal numbers grow from 2 million to 2.7 million over the past three financial years," he said.

"Meals on Wheels providers are also reporting they are receiving more inquiries from people outside of aged care."

The organisation delivers around 2.6 million meals to more than 19,000 elderly and disabled Queenslanders.

In its latest annual report, Meals on Wheels Queensland outlined that its focus for the 2023/24 financial period would be on volunteer recruitment and retention.

Its strategy includes developing an online system to onboard the more than 300 inquiries and applications it receives in a year, alleviating pressure from its frontline.

Hill is encouraging anyone interested in lending a hand to reach out.

"The community support Meals on Wheels receives from people who volunteer for almost 70 years is always truly inspiring," he said.

"We encourage anyone who is thinking of volunteering to contact us at qmow.org and give it a try.

"You will make the day of someone in your local community and is a great way to meet new people.

Taken from Nine News Media Release on February 12, 2024

 

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